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Information for educators or anyone wanting to teach

Introduction

Pedagogy. The art & science of teaching - how knowledge & skills are learned and taught in an educational setting (instruction).

Curriculum. All the planned and unplanned experiences students experience in school and out.

Professional educators need to have mastery of:

Curriculum & pedagogy

Teaching - instruction

Ideas, tools, and practices to attain mastery in all these areas has infinite possibilities. Therefore, it is necessary for educators to have sufficient knowledge, skills, and dispositions as big ideas at higher levels of understanding to be fluent enough to adapt what they know and make good decisions to faciliate the learning of all their students.

While communication and presentation of learning activities is a linear process, the order of selection and organization of information to plan and implement them has no particular order.

Let's start with a review of how to continually inquire & reflect on our practices & develop professionally.

Professional development

Educators continually inquire & reflect on their practices to develop professionally.

They rely on their personal reflections, colleagues, administrators, and professional organizations for suggestions to identify areas for possible change and support to assist implementing change from their personal assessment of their current practices.

Alone and together they use research and wisdom of practice to inform their decision making process. A process which challenges their current knowledge base, with new ideas. New ideas, which are analyzed and synthesized to suggest solutions. Solutions, which often change their conceptual framework or make their current philosophies, knowledge, and practices stronger.

Process for continual professional development:

Dimensions of subject knowledge for a comprehensive view of what teachers need to know to teach subjects & their dimensions

Know what guides their decision making

An important factor in making decision is knowing if the theories, beliefs, attitudes, and principled procedures used to influence and guide the decision making process are congruent with the goals and outcomes expected.

For example what is your belief for the purpose of education?

This is important for individuals to know and for groups who are charged with making curricular decisions to know so that what they teach will achieve the expected results.

Information to assist in this process include:

Principled procedures guide decision making to achieve the purposes of education. Here are some examples:

Standards & knowledge bases (science) (math) (multiMedia)

Instructional assessment

Consider there are three basic ways to improve learning: 1. increase the level of intended learnings, 2. change the role of the learners, and 3. increase the knowledge and skill of the teacher.

Research & wisdom of practice to inform decision making

Textual resources

Resources in this site (alphabetical)

Video

Web sites

  • WomenEd - a global grassroots movement to connect aspiring & existing women leaders in education

 

Curriculum

Curriculum. All the planned and unplanned experiences students experience in school and out of school.

Each learner's education includes all of their experiences, which is important when considering how to assist them to achieve their educational goals. However, when planning and implementing curriculum it is necessary at times to focus on specific ideas and context areas. This results in a variety of documents, personal and public to communicate with your self, fellow educators, others interested in education, learners to facilitate their learning, administrators, and public stake holders who are curious or desire educational information.

Documents include, but are not limited to: theories, mission statements, philosophies, principled procedures, action plans, standards, maps, webs, models, frameworks, instructional procedures, syntax, lesson plans, units, year plans, multi grade curriculum, and assessment plans.

Organized with different scopes, durations, grade levels, and information to learn.

First, a big picture of curriculum, then different areas of focus.

Big picture resources for elements of curriculum & development

Pedagogy

Pedagogy. The art & science of teaching - how knowledge & skills are learned and taught in an educational setting (instruction).

Instructional theory is the heart of pedagogy. It is a general procedure for how educators create and coordinate the environment, atmosphere, methods, procedures, syntaxes, strategies, and assessment to facilitate the intended learnings according to the learners needs.

While planning and teaching combines all of these, they can only be studied and talked about individually. Therefore, information is included in the areas of:

Learning & human development

General instructional theories, methods, or models

A general instructional method or theory is presented, followed by three traditional instructional methods or theories.

How to use general models in education, is the planning , which includes selecting topics, unpacking them, and choosing information, activities, materials, procedures, and other resources to meet the needs of learners.

Planning pedagogy (instruction for teaching & learning)

Plan is a strategy for doing or achieving something. In education, planning is the process of creating procedures to achieve the purposes of education.

  • Purposes, identified in the planning (mental & media), to communicate with ourselves, fellow educators, and other interested parties; what is to be achieved and procedures for how to facilitate it.
  • Communicated purposes with goals, objectives, aims, outcomes, standards, & procedures usually in documents as beliefs, purposes, standards, mission statements, curriculum, & plans for teachers & schools.
  • Communicate procedures that facilitate intended learnings with instructional methods, and instructional experiences and
  • Positive learning environments.

Procedures as detailed anticipatory classroom management plans for every move from the first days of school to the last. They are like a pilots flight plan. Procedures govern everything done, therefore, the more procedures a person knows, the better prepared they will be for what ever happens. Procedures which can be in documents or in teacher's memories. They include

  • General procedures for management steps and examples for interacting with individuals, groups, & classes can be documented in a Teacher action plan.
  • Procedures for selected educational purposes, goals and outcomes for a specific content area, for students to learn to achieve the purposes of education.
  • Learnings, which combine contextual areas, topics, subjects, dimensions of learning, literacy, skill, standards, outcomes, ... , for the purposes of education.

To summarize planning unpacks and organizes what is to be achieved and combines it with procedures to achieve it, based on:

Planning outlines

The following outlines suggest how these common elements can be included in short and longer term plans.

Let's connect the kinds of documents typical for each of the areas so we can quickly and efficiently deal with large amounts of information and their relationships to planning and teaching.

To create instructional procedures and implement them, consider the following information and its organization ...

Unpacking

Unpacking is the process of selecting the information and skills necessary to know; to decide instructional experiences and procedures, to use with instructional methods to create learning environments to achieve the purposes of education.

It starts with referencing our understanding, other documents, standards, curriculum, text books, research articles, maps, and other resources to gathering information and organize it according to the learners' needs to facilitate their learning.

Information, which can be displayed in maps, webs, diagrams, lists, tables, charts, matrices, frameworks, outlines, narratives, ... as contextual areas, subjects, topics, focus questions, facts concepts, generalizations, schema, and their relationships necessary to understand them, select methods and procedures to learn thems to achieve the purposes of education.

Unpacking examples:

Maps, webs, and charts that focus on intended learnings

Webs and maps are nonlinear visual tools to organize information. Below is a map of map, possible uses, and examples of their use for planning, teaching, and instructional tools.

Intended learnings as concepts

map definition image

  • Animals - map structure to unpack properties and needs for animals
  • Juice - chart with characteristics, exemplars, & non exemplars
  • Colors - web to unpack colors, representative objects, & associated ideas
  • Rock cycle map - unpacked content necessary for the rock cycle
  • Survival - map with seven conditions for survival, no details or examples
  • Interactions - observation, interactions, change, chart ready to use
  • Compare and contrast - web for nickel & dime, mostly completed
  • Compare and contrast - web blank
  • Concept chart - to examine concepts features, none features, examples & related concepts - blank
  • Frayer Model - explanation, three samples, uses definition, facts & characteristics, examples, non examples, words, & pictures. Use to find the level of concept mastery

Planning that combines contextual areas

Planning procedures & frameworks to organize & document information with instructional ideas

  • BLANK planning map with categories for - Focus area or topic, focus question, relationships & concepts, perceptual responses, observations, properties, transformations, tasks & activities, assessment levels, real world value, classroom atmosphere, & instructional assessment
  • Frameworks for planning learning experiences - includes instructional methods or models for a learning cycle, cooperative learning, directed instruction & the common knowledge construction model. These procedures are connected to elements for intended learnings, development, & assessment.

Planning that combines contextual areas across age levels

Instructional planning

When educators feel they have gathered enough information, then they begin to create procedural information, by inserting it into planning outlines or frameworks or start with a blank document.

Procedures as lesson plans

Four lesson plans: two in a linear outline & the same two in a table format content is probability for one die and the sum of two dice. Followed with a probability unit with these and four additional activities.

Historical introductory light bulb activity for the learning cycle instructional method, model, theory or procedure.

Information includes:

  • Introductory narrative
  • Video of instruction in a fifth grade classroom
  • Table with an analysis of the different phases of learning cycles (Karplus Their, 4 E, 5E learning cycle, and the Common Knowledge Construction Model) inclusion in the activity.
  • Intended learnings, unpacking of concepts, mapping of concepts, information to facilitate understanding of electric circuits and the use of scientific models to explain & predict.
  • Instructional procedures that use a learning cycle methodology & related information for learners to facilitate their learning with the introductory activity & additional activities to see how each activity can provide learned information that will connect to the next activity to increase understandings of electrical circuits and how science helps us understand the world.

Walk through of lesson planning or teaching with educator's mental thoughts and reflections.

Plans have strengths and weakness, which can be assessed with a check list of quality attributes for lesson plans.

Planning sequences
Units or packets by the amounts of integration

Traditional curriculum is organized by subjects or disciplines. Examples below are grouped into four different kinds and amounts of integration.

  1. No integration. Planning for only the knowledge content of a subject, discipline, or other topic. Focus is on one idea.
  2. Subject integration. Curriculum or lesson sequences focus on subjects or disciplines. However, they are defined with multiple dimensions and planning integrates these different dimensions. Subject with dimension integration or integration within one subject.
    Examples:
    • Air Sequence - grade range 2-5 physical science dimension plan with integration of other science dimensions, learning cycle (exploration, invention, expansion)
    • Reading and Writing Numbers with Numerals and Words - middle level+ math dimension number systems, focused on place value, patterns, & number communication. Learning cycle with some directed instruction.
    • Rounding Numbers - grade 4+ dimensions measurement of body parts, proportion, number value rounding with activity descriptions.
    • Mixing 4 different colored water solutions - grade 4+ dimensions processes science observation & inquiry. Discussion questions include questions for both.
  3. Integration of different subjects, which may include dimensions for each of the included subjects or not - subjects integration with or without integration of dimensions,
  4. Contextual integration of four context areas & school goals, more real life integration or integrated studies. Example - Prospectus for Real Integration school and how to plan units of study based on a big idea or theme around four world contexts and school goals.

Assessment & evaluation

Cartoon testing animals

Assessment and evaluation can be embedded in planning and instruction without being labeled. However, it is helpful when it is not only identified, but four general types are considered and included. Details follow:

Freedom Writers

Movie Image

... on the recommendation of my granddaughter, I saw Freedom Writers.

I was very glad I did. It is one of the best films I have seen. The film presents the struggles of teaching and the life of a teacher. The passion, desire, and commitment needed to determine and provide what students need for them to develop to the point of empowerment, as well as the persistence and determination to overcome barriers to provide it. While fear and hate are the major barriers depicted in this film, barriers of traditional schooling and public misconceptions of what it means to be educated and how to achieve it are just as great of barriers to be overcome for students to achieve a quality education. Find the time to see this film with a loved one. It has life long empowering possibilities.

The Freedom Writer's movie trailer

Freedom Writer's foundation & resources ...

Demonstration Activities to teach, discuss, and understand a Constructivist learning theory: Piagetian based

A Pretest to challenge and focus on how children and adolescents develop based on a constructivist learning theory.

The following activities provide experiences to demonstrate how people learn and how their learning can be explained by a learning theory in conjunction with instructional methodologies and procedures.

plasticBagPiercingEdit
  • Start with a demonstration, like in the video above, using a pencil to pierce a plastic sandwich bag mostly filled with water. Information in science lesson format. Students will want to first discuss the physics of what happened. Do so and then turn the discussion to how it relates to learning and a learning learning theory.
  • Can follow-up with another piercing this time of a balloon semi-filled with air with a bamboo skewer or sharpened knitting needle. Again discuss how it relates to learning and a learning theory.
  • Follow the learning theory discussion with a discussion of how to provide learning experiences for learners that will take advantage of the theory. To be effective, educational methodology generally and instructional procedures more specifically to achieve this. Start with a review of a general instructional method and then learning cycle methodology.
  • After reviewing these instructional methods decide on a personal model.
  • Using your personal model, explore different ways to insert different syntax and strategies as might be necessary to plan procedures to meet the different needs of diverse learners.

A solid understanding of a constructivist learning theory and how to use it to make decisions based on the needs of your learners is critical for their development and depth of learning.

While the learning cycle is applicable for all ages, the different ways learners understand becomes more logical as they mature. However, while all learners advance in their ways of thinking as they mature from young children, adolescents, and adults. Not all learners advance at the same rates or to the highest levels of formal operational thinking in all areas.

Explore these activities and tasks to develop intellectual thinking for learners across all ages. Includes directions, materials, and variety of responses with explanations.

The Garduckals challenge and activity (5 minutes) will let you explore and discuss how a learning theory can explain the desire (motivation), search, and use of associations to find a solution as a person solves a problem or challenge.

The next set of activities present puzzles or problems which have been historically used to study the development of understanding of propositional logic, correlation, probability, and proportionality. For which the understanding of each can be represented as: pre-operational, concrete operational, and formal operational levels.

The activities are presented along with representative data to illustrate a comprehensive analysis of the thinking learners use to attempt to solve problems for these types of problems.

Summary sheet for the puzzles and development.

A comprehensive review of many studies on logic and learning can be found in the book A Love of Discovery annotated in the sidebar on the right.

Questions to help understand a learning theory and how to use it to make teaching decisions

  • What is the difference between how children learn, how children construct knowledge, and what a learning theory explains?
  • How do assimilation, disequilibration, cognitive dissonance, equilibration, accommodation, ZPG (zone of proximal development), and developmentally appropriate fit in a learning theory?
  • What variables affect learning?
  • How do learning styles fit a learning theory?
  • Describe your interpretation of the statement: All people learn differently.
  • How should instructional theories or models fit with a learning theory?

Using developmental ideas to adapt activities for students

Miscellaneous brain related topics

Real world application

  • Parent, "How do you facilitate your student's learning?"
  • Principal, "Tell me how you believe children learn?"
  • Principal, "If I walk into your classroom what will I see?"
  • Principal, "Describe how teachers can use a theory on how children learn and incorporate it into their classroom instruction.
  • Principal, "Tell me how you will teach so children can learn?

 

 

 

Education in Madrawar, Afghanistan. 2006.

Late one February night, more than a dozen masked gun carrying Taliban burst into the 10-room girls' school in Nooria's village, Madrawar about 100 miles east of Kabul. They tied up and beat the night watchman, soaked the principal's office and the library with gasoline, set it on fire and escaped into the darkness.

The townspeople, who doused the blaze before it could spread, later found written messages from the gunmen promising to cut off the nose and ears of any teacher or student who dared to return.

The threats didn't work. Within days, most of the school's 650 pupils were back to their studies. Classes were held under a grove of trees in the courtyard for several weeks, despite the winter chill, until repairs inside the one-story structure were complete. Nearby schools replaced some of the library's books.

But the hate mail kept coming, with threats to shave the teacher's heads as well as mutilate their faces.

When, NEWSWEEK visited and talked to students and faculty on the last day of classes. Nooria, who dreams of becoming a teacher herself, expressed her determination to finish school.

"I'm not afraid of getting my nose and ears cut off," she said, all dressed up in a long purple dress and head scarf.

"I want to keep studying."
Newsweek June 26, 2006

 

A Love of Discovery: Science Education-The Second Career of Robert Karplus. Edited by Robert Fuller 2002.

book cover

Robert Fuller, compiled a collection of documents along with a narration that describes the positive impacts Robert Karplus had on science in elementary schools in the closing years of the twentieth century. Information that continues to shape elementary science education in positive ways.

Robert Karplus was a physicist who was asked to teach a science lesson in an elementary classroom. Inspired by how difficult it was to teach children, he began to research how to teach elementary students. He discovered Piaget's constructivist learning theory and discovered it helped to frame how student's learn, how they reasoned, how learning is comparable to doing science, and how these ideas could inform instruction. His background, as a physicist, helped him to research and understand how to apply new ideas through a process of curriculum development to implement continuous change. He demonstrate how a curriculum could be created and implemented in a manner which could be used that was developmentally appropriate, research based, facilitated science literacy along with a love of discovery, and develop reasoning and logic necessary to become critically thinking citizens. A very inciteful, interesting, and enjoyable book that can inform all science educators.

 

 

Middle & High School
Starting time
:

The American Academy of Pediatrics & Centers for Disease Control recommend classes should start at 8:30 am. of later.

 

Albert Einstein said,

"It is a grave error to suppose that the joy of seeing and seeking can be furthered by compulsion or sense of duty."

 

Resources:

Legacy Piaget

Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development. editions 1-5 2003.
Barry J. Wadsworth

book cover

Classic book on cognitive & affective development. A must read for anyone serious in wanting to understanding learning and how intelligence, logic, and thinking develops cognitively and affectively.

 

Piaget for the Classroom Teacher. 1973.

Barry J. Wadsworth

Book cover Piaget for the Classroom Teacher

Includes examples of how to use Piaget's learning theory and ideas on cognitive & affective development in the classroom. Source for many of the tasks to explore student development of reasoning, conservation, & logic.

 

Children and Adolescents: Interpretive Essays on Jean Piaget. 1974.
David Elkind

Cover Children and Adolescents

-----------------------------

A Piaget Primer: How a Child Thinks. Revised edition. 1996.
Dorthy G. Singer & Tracey A. Revenson.

Cover A Piaget Primer